As with many of you, we have a presence on Facebook for the First Friday Book Synopsis. Many of you are members of the group that we established. It is fun to interact with you through that group every day.
It is important to remember that Social Media has limits as to what it can produce. It is what it is – it is “social,” and its intent is to share information, reactions, opinions, and presence. Many have tried to use Social Media for other purposes, and in fact, seminars are plentiful that purport to show you how to build business by maximizing and tweaking your presence with the various tools.
Click here for access to a full article published on February 21 in the Dallas Morning News about business results from Facebook. They are not impressive, and the trends below may surprise you, as they run counter to common-sense publicity about social media. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Last April, Gamestop Corp. opened a store on Facebookto generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered. Grapevine-based Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap Inc. , Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom Inc. have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook Inc.’s social networking site. Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
These results do not surprise me. If you count on Social Media to build sales, that is neither its intent, nor a probable outcome.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Social Media. I access Facebook and Twitter several times a day. In fact, my MBA class on research methods at the University of Dallas is studying it during this term.
But, I am aware of what it is supposed to do, and what it can do. It is what it is. It raises awareness, but it doesn’t make the cash register ring. Don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t do something it is not.
What do you think? Let’s talk about this really soon.
I am not surprised at all to see the statistics published on February 20, 2012 by the Pew Research Center that reveal very few Americans receive political news from social networks.
Where do we get our information about politicians, campaigns, platforms, etc? It’s not from social media. Here is the breakdown, when Americans were asked to identify the sources they used regularly to follow political news. Note this is not a “fixed pie” of 100%. Rather, these numbers reflect how many Americans sampled identified a source:
Cable news (36%)
Local TV news (32%)
National network news (26%)
Local daily newspaper (20%)
Talk radio (16%)
Late-night comedy shows (9%)
Why would this surprise anyone? Social Media is just what it is – it is social. It generates conversation, spreads opinions, and highlights reactions. Social Media is not a source that generates or distributes information. It is post-news. It is filled with what people think about what they already know.
It is not that Social Media is unimportant. In fact, it is the focus in my MBA research methods class this term at the University of Dallas. My students are learning research methods by focusing their research on Social Media.
Americans don’t get their news from Social Media outlets. Americans talk about the news through Social Media.
Are you surprised by this? If so, let’s talk about it really soon!
If you work with statistics, one of the great challenges that you may have faced is how to write up results in a coherent and efficient manner.
Here is a great source for you! This book is a short, comprehensive, and invaluable resource: From Numbers to Words by Susan E. Morgan, Tom Reichert, and Tyler R. Harrison (Allyn & Bacon, 2002).
While I can assure you we will never present a book like this at the First Friday Book Synopsis, because it would induce sleep – for anyone who worries over how to present findings from a statistical test in a written report, this is a crown jewel.
The book covers practically every possible statistical test. For each, you will learn what to report, the key syntax, and the suggested format. The book includes excerpts from articles that have used the statistic.
And, it does all this in 125 pages!
As part of my responsibilities as an adjunct professor in the College of Business at the University of Dallas, I teach MBA students a course in Research Methods. How to write up statistical results is the most frustrating and time-consuming endevaor they face. I have now required this book for the past two terms, and have seen great results.
I commend it to you – if you are a numbers-person.